Chicken, preserved lemon and olive tagine
- 4 hours before eating, start making the marinade. Finely chop the onion (or use a food processor), and place in a large shallow glass dish.
- Peel and crush the garlic cloves. Peel and then finely grate the ginger. Chop the coriander leaves. Add these to the marinade.
- Add the pinch of sea salt, the juice of the lemon, the olive oil and the saffron threads to the marinade dish and mix it all together.
- Place the chicken pieces in the marinade dish and rub the marinade mixture all over each piece of chicken. Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to marinade.
- Clarify the butter (see tip below for technique). Pour the yellow butter oil into a large deep frying pan with a lid and put to one side.
- An hour before eating heat the butter oil in the pan on the hob, until it's really hot.
- Brush excess marinade mixture off the chicken pieces and place them in one layer in the hot butter oil in the pan, skin-side down, to brown.
- Then turn the chicken pieces over to brown on the other side.
- Add the marinade mixture to the chicken pieces in the pan, and top up with enough chicken stock so that the liquid comes about 2/3 up the chicken pieces (c. 250ml depending on your pan).
- Put lid on the pan, turn down heat to a gentle simmer and cook on the hob for about 40 minutes, turning the chicken pieces half-way through so they cook evenly.
- Prepare the preserved lemon peel (see tip below for technique).
- Drain and rinse pitted olives. Strip thyme leave from sprigs.
- When chicken has simmered for 40 minutes, scatter the chopped preserved lemon peel, green olives and thyme across the pan. Turn the chicken pieces again, and top up with a little stock if the level has dropped. Replace the lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
- Peel baby carrots and cut off the tops. Steam for 10 minutes.
- In the last 5 minutes of cooking make up couscous as per packet instructions.
- Serve as soon as the couscous is ready, sharing the couscous, chicken pieces, olives, carrots and lemony tagine sauce between 4 wide shallow bowls
- Clarified butter is good as it does not burn like normal butter. To clarify the butter put it in a small microwaveable dish and microwave for 3o seconds. Do 30 seconds more if needed to melt fully. Then pour the yellow butter oil (this is the clarified butter) out into a pan, without any of the white buttermilk residue underneath.
- To prepare a preserved lemon quarter - first remove all the lemon segment flesh. Then put it (rind side down) on a chopping board and use a small sharp knife (pointing the blade away from you) to carefully slice/scrape all the whiter pith off, repeating this until you are left with very thin, almost translucent, layer of preserved peel.
- For more flavourful couscous, add a tablespoon of good olive oil and a large pinch of sea salt to the boiling water before adding the couscous.
- Scatter toasted almond flakes over the chicken when you serve up for additional crunch.